June 02 2014
Written By
Josey Orr
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How To Indigo Dye Clothing

People have been Indigo dyeing textiles for a really long time. In fact, it's one of the oldest known dyes that is derived from plants. Apparently, there was even some indigo dyed fabric in King Tuts tomb. Indigo is the only natural dye that creates a true shade of blue and hundreds of different plants that can produce indigo can be find across the world. The most important thing to note, is that the blue jean wouldn't have been so blue without indigo. So, how can you turn something a beautiful shade of blue in your own backyard? It's easier than you think. 

1. Materials

We recommend getting a nice little pre-packaged kit from Noon Design Studio. Each kit includes: natural indigo dye and auxiliaries packed in dissolvable paper, instructions with some Shibori ideas for making patterns,10 rubber bands for pattern making,1 pair of biodegradable latex gloves. 

You'll also need to get a fabric that will work with the dye, like hemp, cotton, or silk.

2. Preparation

  • Fill the vat with 4 gallons of warm water
  • Place the entire indigo, lime, and fructose packages into the bucket and stir gently. Try not to splash the water and scrape down the sides. 
  • Stir Occasionally, about every 10 minutes, and then wait 30-45 minutes for all the Ingredients to dissolve and the chemistry to take effect. 

3. Dyeing

  • Dampen all of the fabric so that it is evenly wet, but not dripping. 
  • Put on Gloves and lower the fabric into the vat.
  • Rotate the fabric gently under the surface of the water for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to work the dye into the fabric gently. 
  • Pull the fabric out and squeeze excess dye into the vat.
  • The fabric will emerge a yellow-green color. Quickly open it to expose all areas to air and watch it turn blue as it oxidizes. 
  • Allow the fabric to fully oxidize for 20 minutes or until completely blue. 
  • Repeat this Process until you achieve the desired shade of Indigo.

4. Drying and Setting

  • Allow the fabric to sit or hang over night
  • Wash the fabric with mild soap and rinse. Blue dye will come off the fabric. 
  • Fill a small bowl or sink with warm water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • Place fabric in vinegar solution for 5 minutes. The vinegar will help set the dye. 

5. Disposal

  • The indigo vat will keep for another day if you tightly cover it with a lid
  • Once dyeing is complete, it is environmentally safe to pour the Noon Design Studio Natural Indigo down the sink. 

To see some behind the scenes shots of our process check out our Instagram.

To get your own Natural Indigo Kit check out Noon Design Studio.

All Photos and Directions via Noon Design Studio.


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